tv American History TV CSPAN December 25, 2014 4:00pm-4:14pm EST
president george h. w. bush from the oval office, reaction from senate leaders, bob dole and george mitchell on capitol hill, and east german ambassador gerhardt herder from the national press club in washington. we will also hear the speeches that president kennedy and president reagan delivered in berlin in 1963 and 1987 respectively that galvanized berliners and the free world. >> first, we go to the white house where president george h. w. bush held an informal oval office press conference on november 9, 1989. as events unfolded in berlin, he was criticized for not appearing to share in the jubilation. later, his closest aides, together with historians, described a president determined not to provoke a backlash by soviet hardliners. >> well, we just want to make a brief statement here. i have just been briefed by the secretary of state and national security adviser on the later
news coming out of germany. and of course, i welcome the decision by the east german leadership to open the borders to those wishing to immigrate or travel. and this,s if the's implemented fully, certainly conforms with the helsinki accords. helsinki final acts that were signed and if the gdr goes forward now, and this wall built in '61 will have very little relevance and it clearly is a good development in terms of human rights and i must say that after discussing this here with the secretary of state and national security adviser, i'm very pleased with the -- with
this development. >> [ inaudible ]. >> well, we have such a close relationship with the bed republic that if we were -- chancellor kohl asks us to be of some assistance, i'm certain we would give it serious consideration. i mean, i don't know what he -- what it is they have in mind, but i think with truly open border, it is hard to predict how many will be trying to leave. it is a dynamic development and we have to wait and see. the relationship with the federal republic is such that we would want to be of help if needed some far, germany has done a magnificent job in handling these -- those that preceded this new access. [ inaudible ]
freedom. >> is this the end of the iron curtain, sir? >> well, i don't think any single convenient is the end of what you might call the iron curtain. but clearly, this is a long way from the -- from the harsh days of the -- the harshest iron curtain daydays, a long way fro that. >> [ inaudible ] >> well, i think you have to say what you mean by warsaw pact. if -- it seems to me that it's certainly a loosening up in terms of travel. it's -- concurs with the helsinki final act and it is a very good development. our objective is europe, whole and free.
gorbachev talks about a common home. is it a step toward that? probably so. >> [ inaudible ] >> no indication of that germans going through federal republic of germany. >> what's the danger here, just fwhaud secretary baker commented [ inaudible ] a danger here that things are accelerating too quickly? >> well, i wouldn't want to say this kind of development makes things move too quickly at all, the kind of development we long kind of encouraged by our strong support for the helsinki final act. i'm not going to hypo this
hecate anything goes too fast. we are not trying to give anybody a hard time. we are saluting those who can move forward with democracy. we are encouraging the concept of a europe, whole and free and so we just welcome it. but i don't like to go into a lot of hypothesis about too much change or too rapid change or what i'd do what we would do if -- if something went wrong. we are not -- i think it's being handled by the west very well and certainly, you salute the people in east germany, gdr, who has aspirations for freedom seem to be a little further down the road now. >> mr. president, do you think east germany moving the
direction [ inaudible ] >> i don't think anyone can resist it, europe or western hemisphere. that's one of the great things about dynamic change in -- in central america. it's moving in our direction. >> you ever imagine anything like this happening? >> we have imagined it, but i can't say that i foresaw this development at this state. i didn't foresee it, imagining it, yes, i talked about a europe whole and free, we are talking about this kind of freedom to come and go, this kind of this kind of staying with and living by the helsinki final act, which gives the people the rights to come and go. >> what you just said, this is a
victory -- seem elated -- >> i'm elateded, just not an emotional kind of guy. i'm very pleased and very pleased with a lot of other developments. as i've told you, i think the united states' part of this, not related to this development today particularly is being handled in a proper fashion. we will have some that suggest more flamboyant courses of action for this country and we are, i think, handling this properly with allies, staying in close touch and this dynamic change, try to help as development takes place. the fact i'm not bubbling over, it's going toward evening.
i feel good about that. [ inaudible ] >> well, what i'd like to think is the political change in the gdr would catch upright, catch up very fast with this liberation, if you will. you may remember that before i went to poland, i think -- i don't know whether jim bakker was sitting next to me. i know brent was there and john sununu and i was asked by polish journalist, if you were a young pole, you know, what would i -- what would my advice be? and what i said is i think you ought to stay there and participate in this dramatic change in your country. you ought to feel the surge of freedom. feel the move toward democracy. and be a part of it.
and these are germans and germans love their country. and at some point, i think a lot of germans who have felt pent in and unable to move are gonna say, look, we can move, but wouldn't it be better to participate in the reforms that are taking place in our own country? so i think it's too early to predict this, because these -- these openings are there, that that means the whole -- everybody is gonna take off. >> [ inaudible ]. >> he has already expressed his interest in a common european home. we phrase it had differently. we said a europe whole and free. and when you see citizens
wanting to go and flee what has been an oppressive society, clearly, that is a message that -- that mr. gorbachev will understand. he sees it not only in eastern europe, but he sees it inside the soviet union. and so we will very a good -- [ inaudible ] before these developments took place. i said that we would be discussing the rapid change inside eastern europe and we have been talking about that today, just before we -- you-all came in here. we have been talking about the gorbachev meeting and one of the things that we are determined we will discuss and i know he will want to discuss is this change. >> [ inaudible ]
>> i don't see that they're related. i don't know. it is way too early to speak on that i have spoken out on the question of german reunification. i notice the president of france, president mitterand spoke out. i heard what chancellor kohl had to say about it. but i don't know if the development of today speeds up the day or not. >> thank you. >> [ inaudible ]. >> we will be discussing a wide array of those subjects with the soviets, i'm sure, including i know of their interest in talking about that, so we will be prepared to talk about it. i'd like to talk to him soon but he is off in poland. i may try to get him there, but i talked to him quite recently. we confer quite regularly. >> [ inaudible ] >> not yet. no. >> [ inaudible ] >> well, personally, i don't know, we are gonna talk to him very recently, but he might,
might want to talk about it. >> the berlin wall had separated east and west since august 13, 1961. as the wall came down on november 9, 1989, senate minority leader bob dole, republican from kansas, and senate majority leader george mitchell, democrat from maine, took to the senate floor to voice their thoughts. >> according to news reports, the east german government just announced the opening of its borders to all of its citizens to include the right to free passage of the berlin wall. it appears that the berlin wall and all it represents are crumbling, even as the communist state which built it crumbles, too. with breadth of speed, the people of east germany sought to take their up destiny into their own hands. by the hundreds of thousands shall they have taken to the streets, asking only two things, freedom and opportunity. by the tens of thousands, they have fled their homeland, seeking on